The Lancashire Constabulary PR team field calls from the media every
five to ten minutes
Jubilee Line Extension Project
In March 1998, the Docklands will join the London Underground network
accompanied by all the fanfare that its 14-strong PR team can muster.
The Jubilee Extension Line PR office has been up and running in one form
or another since November 1989. Dual teams of Parlia-mentary liaison and
PR officers talked through objections, and queries from interested
parties. In 1992, when the Royal Assent was given, the Parliamentary
team was wound down, and the PR team expanded to its current level of 14
staff, under the leadership of Richard Humphries.
The team operates on an annual pounds 1 million budget, which includes a
media department headed by Jan Critchley. A dedicated video officer Ed
Cooper and photography officer Gabrielle Owtram produce VNRs, videos and
shots, which might otherwise prove tricky for the media to obtain.
But what becomes of the PR complement when the last drill has broken
through to Canary Wharf? According to Critchley, the main building works
are scheduled for completion by the middle of next year, but the PR
department will see the project through to the grand opening in 1998.
With more than 3,000 police officers plus 1,880 civilian staff, the
Lancashire Constabulary is the eighth largest police force in the UK.
The fact that its communications are handled by a staff of three is all
the more impressive.
Located at force headquarters in Preston under the community affairs
department, Lancashire’s PR team is headed by Peter Lovett-Horn with
support from assistant officers Caroline Emberton and Roger Blaxall.
Lovett-Horn reports to superintendent David Jones.
All three PR officers handle media enquiries on a variety of
constabulary issues. These inevitably include criminal matters, but also
local community projects and special events. In addition, the community
affairs department manages publicity for Pauline Clare, the only female
chief constable in Britain, who was appointed to Lancashire’s top post
Blaxall reckons that the press team receives calls from the media every
five to ten minutes. Most come from county newspapers and the regional
press in nearby Manchester, although national publications and news
agencies are also kept up to date with the latest developments.
A six-month internal review of the workings of the Lancashire
Constabulary is due out this month. This could lead to the press team
becoming a separate department in its own right reporting directly to
Pauline Clare or an assistant chief constable.